Last Trip to Montauk
I love living on the North Fork. I love the quiet, the farms, and especially the wineries. I sometimes forget how blessed I am to be able to live out here. My friends remind me when they are anxious to come out to get away from their city lives. Montauk was usually their destination of choice. They loved the fact that it was close enough to drive but far enough to feel like a real vacation. Once summer one of my friends wanted to rent a house in Montauk for the week. There would be six of us and we would all chip in on the expenses. We were all excited to be together and the place we were renting was right on the beach. We all met up there separately since we were all on different schedules and once we arrived we discovered that one of the friends was not going to be able to join us. She had gotten called into work and would try to meet up with us later in the week. We were all disappointed but hoped she would be able to meet up with us at some point, so we began unpacking and enjoying our time together. We spent our nights exploring Montauk’s eclectic restaurants and enjoying various venues where we would listen to great live music. Our days would be spent sunning on the beach, reading on the deck overlooking the ocean, or just enjoying doing nothing at all. That’s the beauty of Montauk; just being there fills you with such peace that no matter what you do you can’t help but be happy. It was a great week but as with all great times, over way too fast. If I would have known the events that were to follow once we arrived home I would have made more of an effort to make more mental notes, spend more time talking, listening and just appreciate every moment we had together. We all sometimes take for granted that there will be a next time and that people especially those who are young, will be with us for a long time.
When I arrived home I received a phone call from my friend who arranged our trip. She was crying inconsolably and it took a few minutes to comprehend what she was saying. Her friend who could not make the trip had passed away. She didn’t have any prior illness and it was completely unexpected. The days, weeks and months that passed were difficult for my friend but like every tragedy we experience in life, with time one eventually moves on. Since that tragic event my friend got married and was the happiest she had been for long time. It took quite some time for normalcy to finally return to her life and we were all excited for her future. She now had a wonderful loving husband, a beautiful home and we all shared many happy times together. It was just two years later this friend would be diagnosed with breast cancer. The one who always brought us together, kept us all in touch and had survived a terrible loss was now in the fight for her life. Throughout all of her treatments and everything else that goes with an illness like this, I lost touch with my friend as I did with the others. She was the one who always made time to plan our gatherings, but now only had time to try and survive. I kept meaning to call to see how she was doing, but somehow something always got in the way. When I got the call that she was in hospice it was too late. I never got to see her again until her funeral. As I stood there looking at her and reuniting with the other friends I lost touch with, one thought kept haunting me; why did I wait so long? I meant to call her to reconnect but often thought, I’ll do it when I have more time to talk, more time to visit, more time to really listen to her about how she’s doing. The reality is there really isn’t ever more time. The time we have right now is the only time we have and we must not wait to use it. If I could go back to that week in Montauk knowing that would be her last time there with us, I would not waste a moment of it. The thing is, who could have imagined it would be her last time anywhere…she was only 35.